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Who We Are

Greensburg GreenTown is a charitable nonprofit organization working in Greensburg, Kansas to rebuild the town following the devastating tornado in May of 2007. The town has made a remarkable comeback, reinventing itself as a model for sustainable building and green living now recognized around the world. GreenTown works to make green building and living easily understood, appealing and accessible to all.

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Sustainable Features in Meadowlark House


Design Considerations

Meadowlark house was created as a sustainable design prototype for a comfortable and flexible home that would be a compact, yet spatially dynamic environment for contemporary living. Oriented along an east-west axis the house has large south facing windows to take advantage of the cool breezes in summer and the warming sun in winter. The public and private areas are defined as two masses slightly shifted in plan beneath a splayed roof form with the public areas arranged in an ‘open’ floor plan emphasizing movement and light while the bedrooms are placed along the northern, more solid side of the house. Deep roof overhangs at the south and east protect against harsh summer sun. Exterior walls are constructed using HIB-System, the first time this product has been used in the United States. The mechanical systems include a solar panels and a ducted energy recovery ventilator, an energy saving alternative to air conditioning.

"Our goal was to design a house to meet the needs of the people of Greensburg.  We wanted to provide a sustainable, comfortable home that can be built quickly and affordably, with flexibility to accommodate many family’s different needs."

- Steven Learner

Construction Process
  • Built to Passive House US standards
  • Built using LEED for Homes guidelines
  • Construction waste recycling program
  • Labor sourced regionally as much as possible
  • Materials sourced regionally as much as possible

Site Considerations

  • Compact form maintains efficient footprint reducing site impact
  • East-West orientation optimizes natural lighting & passive heating
  • Native, drought resistant landscaping will reduce maintenance and watering needs
  • Permeable paving to be used for all exterior paving needs

Building Envelope 

  • Modular wood block wall system by HIB
  • Air tight building envelope designed to prevent air from leaking out of the building as well as prevent moisture from entering and damaging walls
  • Superinsulation in walls by Knauf Insulation totals R-40 
  • Superinsulation at foundation walls and under floor slab totals R-50
  • Superinsulation in roof assembly totals R-60
  • Standing seam metal roof will reflect harsh sun, reducing heat gain from the roof
  • High performance windows and doors


  • Prefer recycled content when possible
  • Prefer low-maintenance materials when possible
  • Prefer rapidly renewable materials when possible
  • Concrete contains recycled content


  • Large windows and open floor plan in main living area to provide natural daylight
  • LED light bulbs will reduce energy consumption

Indoor Air Quality 

  • Natural ventilation through use of carefully placed operable windows
  • Non-toxic, low or no VOC finishes
  • Green cleaning products used throughout the home
  • Ceiling fans to promote air circulation



  • Rainwater collection system
  • Low-flow water fixtures
  • Dual-flush toilets


  • High performance building envelope minimizes demand for mechanical conditioning of interior air
  • Mini-split Heat Pump and Electric Baseboard Heating provide supplemental heating and cooling 

Site of the Meadowlark House

HIB Wall System

Meadowlark House utilizes an innovative, prefabricated wood block wall system popular in Europe but new to the US market. The toxin-free wood provides excellent insulation qualities and are structurally able to withstand the high winds found in southwestern Kansas. The HIB-System is a virtually problem free, self-build system. The blocks are easily handled without the need for expensive lifting devices and lock into each other in a “Lego” style operation which achieves a very quick assembly time. Either part or total self build options give the potential for money saving. 


For more information on this unique product, please visit www.hib-system.com.

Built to Passive House Standards

Meadowlark House intends to become a Passive House; a very well-insulated, virtually air-tight building that is primarily heated through passive solar gain (from the sun's natural heat) as well as through internal gains (from people's body heat, electrical equipment, lighting, etc). Energy losses are minimized through careful construction practices including sealing all possible places air could leak out. Any remaining heat demand is provided by an extremely small source. Avoidance of heat gain through shading and window orientation also helps to limit any cooling load, which is similarly minimized. An energy recovery ventilator provides a constant, balanced fresh air supply. The result is an impressive system that not only saves up to 90% of space heating costs, but also provides a uniquely terrific indoor air quality.

For more information on Passive House US, please visit www.passivehouse.us

Built to LEED for Homes Certification (Platinum)

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification program, providing third-party
verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at
improving performance, increasing energy savings, water efficiency, and carbon emissions
reduction, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts, and improving indoor
environmental quality.